Saudi Arabia’s annual film festival has awarded their prestigious Palme d’Oil award to the American sexual thriller Fifty Shades Of Gray.
New Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud hosted the event, and handed out human-sized gold statues to a variety of winners for several categories. He accepted the festival’s highest honor on behalf of the film producers, who declined to attend.
“This film is true art,” he told the audience,”I used to think Western films were evil and un-Islamic. But ‘50 Shades’ brilliantly depicts a woman’s proper place in society.
“It’s been my honor as King to accept this award for this outstanding film. And I personally can’t wait for the sequel.”
The festival was held at The Sharia Dome 5 Hour Energy Theatre House in Jabal Sawda and was packed by Saudi royalty and Middle Eastern actors.
The BBC’s Jeremy Clarkson hosted the car carpet as thousands of Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s showed up. The new Bugatti Veyron was this years hot car trend. The expensive cars rolled up to the red carpet, they were met with photographers. The women wore all black. The men wore fashion described as ‘Miami fashion from the 80s.’ “It was Scarfaces for blocks.”
The other American nominations for the Palme d’Oil award included Jon Stewart’s ‘Rosebud’, Nick Cage’s ‘Rage’, and several holocaust films the judges found ‘inspiring’.
Although the provocative book-turned-movie scored an unimpressive 25% on film review site Rotten Tomatoes, the Saudi market ate it up. Saudi film tsar Al-Masjid an-Nabawī told the BBC, “People were hesitant at first to watch the film. But then it turned into a guilty pleasure film.”
Unlike in Western markets, the majority of ‘50 Shades’ fans in Saudi Arabia are men, who relate to the themes of male dominance and female submission.
“I beat the shit out of my wife every day,” says one local viewer, “But I’m getting tired of the same old techniques. ‘50 Shades’ has given me some great new ideas – like using implements, for example.”
Veteran actor Sean Penn was also given a lifetime achievement award. The actor ended his acceptance speech with. “It’s time for burkas to come in all colors of the rainbow. Maybe even stripes.”
The crowd sat silently.
Although Saudi Arabia does not allow movie theaters, films are widely consumed there in private homes. Reports say sex-toy sales have increased exponentially in the country since the film’s release.